Memoranda are a great way to communicate important decisions or important policy changes to employees or colleagues. It is important that you take the time to create a good one so that you can express your message in the desired way.
Part 1 of 4: Make the memo heading
Step 1. Write “MEMORANDUM” at the top of the page
Put that the document is a memorandum from the beginning. Set the title “MEMORANDUM” 1.5 inches (3.5 cm) from the edge of the page. Put the title in bold in the first line. In this row, you can either center it or align it to the left. You can also choose to put a larger font size for this word.
Leave a double space between this line and the next line in the heading
Step 2. Address the recipient correctly
A memo is a professional and formal means of communication, so you should also address the reader formally. Enter the full name and title of the person to whom you are sending the memo.
If you are sending a memo to all staff, you can write: "TO: all employees."
Step 3. Add other recipients in line CC
The line “CC” indicates who will receive a “courtesy copy” of the memo. This is not the person to whom the memo is addressed. Rather, it is someone who might need to be informed about the policies or issues that you are going to cover in the memo.
Step 4. Write your name on the “From” line
The header has to include who writes and sends the memo. In this line are your full name and your job title.
Step 5. Include the date
Put the full date, the month in letters, and the date and year in numbers. For example: “DATE: January 5, 2015” or “DATE: January 5, 2015”.
Step 6. Choose a specific phrase for the “Subject” line
The line "Subject" gives an idea to the reader of the content of the memorandum. Be specific but concise.
For example, instead of writing the subject: “Ants”, be more specific and write: “Ant problem in the office”
Step 7. Put the header in the correct format
The heading should be at the top of the page, aligned to the left. Capitalize the words “TO:”, “FROM:”, “DATE:” and “SUBJECT:”.
A sample header can be as follows:
TO: name and title of recipient
FROM: your name and title
DATE: full date when the memorandum was written
SUBJECT: (or RE:) what the memo is about (highlighted in some way)
- When creating your headline, be sure to double space between sections and align your text.
- You can choose to add a line below the heading. This will separate the header from the body of the memo.
Part 2 of 4: Making the body of the memo
Step 1. Take into account who will be your reading audience
In order for people to be able to read and respond to your memo, it is important that you tailor the tone, length, and level of formality of the memo according to the audience that will read it. In order for you to do this effectively, you have to have a good idea of who the recipient is.
- Think about the priorities and concerns of your readership.
- Try to anticipate the questions that your readers may have. Brainstorm your memorandum content, which can be examples, proofs, or other persuasive information.
- Taking your readers into account also allows you to be sensitive when including inappropriate information or feelings for them.
Step 2. Skip a formal greeting
A memo does not begin with a greeting like "Dear Mr. Ramirez." Rather, go directly to the segment that introduces the issue you are going to discuss in the memo.
Step 3. Present the problem or issue in the first paragraph
Briefly provide the context behind the actions you would like to see taken. It is like a thesis statement, presenting the topic and indicating its importance. You could also view the introduction as a summary of the entire memo.
As a general guideline, the introduction should take a maximum of approximately 1 paragraph
Step 4. For example, you can write:
“Beginning July 1, 2015, COMPANY XYZ will implement new policies regarding health coverage. All employees will have health coverage and will earn a minimum of $ 15 per hour.”
Step 5. Provide the context for the issue at hand
The reader is likely to need some prior information on the subject you are going to deal with. Provide some context, but be brief and only mention what is necessary.
If relevant, you can continue by indicating why that policy will be implemented. For example, you can write: "The regional government now requires by law that all employees in the region receive a minimum hourly wage."
Step 6. Support your line of action in the argumentative segment
Include a brief summary of the actions to be implemented. Provide evidence and logical reasons for the solutions you propose. Start with the most important information, then proceed to include specific or supporting facts. Describe how readers will benefit from taking the actions you recommend or will be disadvantaged by not doing so.
- You are free to include graphs, lists, or tables, especially in long memos. Just make sure they are really relevant and persuasive.
- For longer memos, consider including short headings that clarify the content of each category. For example, instead of "Policies", put "New policies on part-time employees." Be specific and brief in every heading so that the basic point of your memo is immediately apparent to the reader.
Step 7. Suggest steps the reader should take
A memo is a call to take action on an issue, whether it's an announcement about a new company product, new expense reporting policies, or a statement about how the company is dealing with a problem. Mention the steps the reader should take again in the closing paragraph or sentence.
- For example, you can write: "All employees must already be using the new accounting system by June 1, 2015."
- Here you can also include some evidence to back up your recommendations.
Step 8. Conclude the memo with a warm and positive summary
The last paragraph of the memorandum should rephrase the next steps to take to address the issue at hand. It should also include a warm note that reiterates the solidarity of the organization.
- You can write: "I will be happy to discuss these recommendations with you and follow through with any decisions you make."
- You can end with something like this: “We are very excited about expanding this product line. We are confident that it will expand our business and make it more sustainable. "
- Generally, the length should be 1 to 2 sentences.
Part 3 of 4: Finalize the memo
Step 1. Put the memo in the correct format
Use a standard format to ensure the memo is easy to read. Write in 12 Times New Roman or Arial font. Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) margins on the left, right, top, and bottom.
Put the paragraphs in block style. Double space between paragraphs. Don't indent each paragraph
Step 2. Correct your memo
Review and edit your memo to make sure it is clear, brief, persuasive, and contains no mistakes. Check your consistency with the type of language you are going to use. Eliminate unnecessarily gimmicky words or technical jargon.
- Check the document for possible content, grammar, or spelling errors. Pay particular attention to names, dates, or numbers.
- Check that it is not excessively long and eliminate the material that is not relevant.
Step 3. Handwrite your initials next to your name
A memo does not include a signature line, but you must initial in pen at the top. Put your initials next to your name. This indicates that you have approved the memo.
Step 4. Use memo letterhead
You may have special letterheads designed for memoranda, if you can't use regular company letterhead.
If you are making a digital document (to send by email, for example), you could create your own letterhead in a Word document with the company logo and basic contact information. Use this template for every memo you send
Step 5. Choose a shipping method
Decide what is the best way to distribute your memo. You can print copies of the memo and distribute them physically. You can also send it via email.
If you are sending your memo via email, you may need to convert your email to HTML. You can also save the memo as a PDF and attach it to your email
Part 4 of 4: Using memo templates
Step 1. Find memo templates
Evaluate if you want to use a template instead of writing a memo from scratch. If so, the first thing to do is search the internet for some good memo templates. Microsoft Word also has these templates. Templates generally share the same basic format, but can have different fonts, sizes, and layouts.
- Download the template that best suits your needs.
Step 2. Open the downloaded template on your computer
After pressing the "Download" button, the template will automatically download to your computer or you may have to do a few steps before the download begins. It will download as a Zip file, so you will have to unzip the file and then open it in Microsoft Word.
We recommend using the most up-to-date version of Microsoft Word to give you peace of mind that you don't run into any unforeseen software problems and that the template works as designed. If you have an older version of Microsoft Word, just update the program before downloading any templates
Step 3. Prepare the header
Remember that all the content of the template can be changed. You can customize all parts of the memo template according to your needs. For example, you can add your logo or copyright sign in the header section of the template. Just click on the header section and enter your business information.
Step 4. Complete the template header fields
Make sure to fill in the "TO", "FROM", "CC" and "SUBJECT" fields. Be careful when filling in these fields to make sure you don't miss any, leave one blank, or make a typo somewhere.
Step 5. Write your message
Write the introduction, context, analysis, and summary of the memo in the body. If you want, you can put bullets or make a list to organize the information.
- Keep the template format. This will ensure that the alignment of the paragraph is correct and that the margins and font size are also correct.
- If necessary, you can even customize the memo to use a table. Sometimes this is recommended, especially if a bullet point list makes the memo look too cluttered or difficult to read.
- Make sure to erase all the words that come in the template. Also, carefully review your memo before submitting it.
Step 6. Make sure to check the footer
The footer is the space at the bottom of the page that usually contains additional information. You can include your company information or your personal contact information there. It is important that you take your time to make sure this information is correct. The last thing you want to do is write a great memo and then have mistakes in the contact information or not include it at all.
Step 7. Customize the presentation of the memo
One of the most attractive aspects of templates is that you can even change the color of the document. This allows you to exercise a degree of personality and will make the document stand out more precisely. It also allows you to choose an appropriate color for the subject matter to ensure that the memo is visually striking, yet professional.
Step 8. Save your memo as a single document
Be sure to keep a copy. Then, you will have a supporting digital document that will be a proof of communication in the company.
Step 9. Save the template so you can use it again
Anytime you have to make a memo for a slightly different subject in the future, just change each field based on the particular subject of the memo. This will save you time and also help you make an ever-professional, attention-grabbing memo so that it can be read without delay.
- Don't give too many explanations. It is important to explain why something is being done, but not more than necessary.
- Memoranda should always be brief.